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    Med Tech Success Story | 3 min read

    LaunchPad Alumni, Cooler Heads Receives FDA Clearance To Help Save Cancer Patients' Hair

    Read the full press release from here

    SAN DIEGODec. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Tech company Cooler Heads today announced it has received FDA clearance to sell its revolutionary scalp cooling device to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy save their hair.  All the more impressive is that Cooler Heads achieved this milestone after raising less than $1.5 million in venture capital funding. 

    "Scalp cooling is an effective way for cancer patients to save their hair, but existing methods are prohibitively expensive and difficult to use," explains Cooler Heads CEO Kate Dilligan.  A recent USA Today article highlights patient frustrations with current solutions, which are out of reach for most. 

    Dilligan is a veteran entrepreneur and cancer survivor who, after spending over $8,000 to keep her own hair during chemo, made it her life's work to develop an easy-to-use, tech-enabled scalp cooling solution that is dramatically less expensive than today's methods.  She explained, "cancer patients undergoing chemo are dealing with the hardest challenge one can face; keeping their hair is critical to their mental health, their sense of self, and their recovery process." 

    Dilligan notes that saving one's hair is not about vanity, instead "it's about recognizing yourself in the mirror; it's about privacy, dignity, and not letting cancer take your identity from you."   With Cooler Heads' FDA clearance, Dilligan notes "for the first time, saving one's hair is in reach for all eligible cancer patients undergoing chemo, not just the wealthiest." 

    Dilligan founded Cooler Heads in 2018 and found an early champion in San Diego-based tech accelerator Ad Astra, whose founder Allison Long Pettine was impressed by Dilligan's passion and mission-driven focus.  Pettine notes, "Kate's first-hand knowledge of the problem allowed her to uniquely understand how large the opportunity could be in an otherwise overlooked market."  According to Pettine, "Kate's execution is equally impressive, and she has been able to deliver on every milestone she has set out to achieve, on time and under budget." 

    Cooler Heads went on to raise $1.4 million in seed funding in 2019, led by San Francisco-based Anathem Ventures, whose Managing Partner Crystal McKellar credits Dilligan's superior tech and early bootstrapping for much of the success of the company, noting, "Kate built her initial working prototype on her own dime and developed valuable relationships with top cancer treatment centers before she raised a dollar of venture funding.  Medical device companies typically raise tens, if not hundreds of millions in venture capital to achieve FDA approval.  Kate did it with less than $1.5 million."  McKellar, who joined the Cooler Heads board, noted, "in an era of overblown tech copycats, Cooler Heads is proof that unique, idiosyncratic technology companies that deliver tremendous value to their investors still exist in Silicon Valley." 

    On the heels of its FDA clearance, Cooler Heads closed on an oversubscribed $1.5 million funding round from existing venture backers Robin Hood Ventures, Anathem Ventures, and Crescent Ridge Partners, and new investors Gaingels, Astia Angels, and Teal Ventures, as well as industry leaders Dr. Stan Marks and Dr. Sandeep Bansal.

    Read the full press release from here

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